Electrical Stimulation and Functional Electrical Stimulation for individuals with Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis creates hard plaques on the nerves in the brain and spinal cord that block the transmission of nerve impulses. So, when you think about making a movement, for example, bending your arm or straightening your knee, the signal is blocked and doesn’t reach its destination.
Electrical Stimulation (ES) uses a low-level current to create an alternative signal to activate the muscle. Individual muscles can be targeted using portable devices – some of which are relatively affordable for home use (IntelliStim, Globus and TENS). Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) allows you to have whole groups of stimulated to allow you to perform functional movements such as static cycling - FES assisted cycling, or lift your foot at ankle - FES for Footdrop (Bioness GO).
Electrical Stimulation and Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) can provide many benefits to help with your Multiple Sclerosis (MS) symptoms. It can assist with your mobility, muscle strength, pain, spasticity and improve your cardiovascular health. Improvements in these areas can in turn boost your sense of mental and social wellbeing.
FES for Footdrop
Maintaining mobility is a high priority for individuals with MS. If you struggle to lift your foot and toes when walking, you may have footdrop or drop foot, which can lead to trips and falls, and a loss of confidence when walking.
Your Foot Drop may be often caused by muscle weakness in the muscles that lift your foot, or by spasticity in your calf muscles. FES Stimulation can make it easier for you to lift the foot over even and uneven ground.
At PhysioFunction, we use the Bioness Go to help with footdrop. The Bioness Go is easy to apply and use. It is wireless and makes changes in footwear simple and barefoot walking an option.
The Bioness Go comprises a cuff that is worn just below your knee. The electrical stimulation is delivered by cotton or gel electrodes embedded in the cuff. The cuff also houses a proprietary 3D Motion Detector which monitors your leg position as you walk and provides electrical stimulation precisely when needed.
The Bioness Go also offers a training mode so you can train of the muscles that lift the foot even when seated.
When FES is coupled with a power-assisted static bike such at the RT300 FES cycle, you can use the FES and motor power to generate powerful pedal strokes and engage in seated cycling. This can provide you with a number of benefits including improved cardiovascular fitness, reduction in spasms and spasticity, and muscle strengthening to assist you “off the bike”.
Electrical Stimulation can also be used in rehabilitation, complementing physiotherapy techniques, often to help you strengthen weak muscles, improve range of movement and reduce spasticity.
Transcutaneous Electrical Stimulation (TNS) can help you control your pain, whether that arises from muscle spasms or from the damage to your sensory (feeling) nerves from the MS. Rather than stimulating the nerves that deliver nerve impulses to your muscles, TNS interferes with the impulses conveying pain signals to the areas in your brain associated with the perception of pain.